It doesn’t get any better than this thick, creamy tomato bisque recipe, seasoned with just a hint of basil. I love serving it with a big slice of fresh, crusty sourdough bread (or better yet – served IN a sourdough bread bowl when I’m feeling extra decadent!)
Ever since I was a little kid, tomato soup has been my reining queen of soups. I loved the condensed, canned version topped with broken up crackers. It was comfort food when I was recovering from a cold or a bad day at elementary school.
Basically, a bowl of tomato soup meant I was home.
While I still consider tomato soup to be #1, I’m no longer a fan of canned soups. They all seem to have a metallic aftertaste that my young palette wasn’t able to pick up on.
Homemade tomato soup is not difficult to make, it’s better than the store versions, and to top it all off– my favorite versions are often made from canned tomatoes, making it a perfect year-round soup. How about that?
I still remember Chef Brian, one of my culinary school chefs, saying that “sometimes canned tomatoes are the superior product.” He was right. The great thing about this is that when I’m craving homemade tomato soup in the middle of winter (or even a tried-and-true recipe in the height of tomato season), I don’t need to look further than my pantry.
Now, if you eat a tomato straight from the can without any manipulation, it’s going to have that same tinny aftertaste I referenced at the beginning. But if you treat those jewels properly, you’ll have liquid gold. My Pappa Al Pomodoro (Tomato Bread Soup) is another great example of this.
This creamy tomato basil soup is rich, but it’s also quite filling which means you don’t need much. It’s perfect for chilly winter days, or if you’ve had a bad day at elementary school.
- The recipe I adapted from starts with 6 tablespoons of olive oil, and I almost wonder if that was a typo. You could probably even drop this down to 1 tablespoon. You only need a light coating on the bottom of the sauce pan.
- If you can’t find Roma tomatoes, other canned whole tomatoes are fine.
- I’m not usually a fan of dried basil, but Serious Eats recommended it here and I agree that it works. If you don’t want to purchase it, you can omit it. Keep in mind that using fresh basil may alter the flavor, but it certainly won’t hurt!
- The carrots add a nice sweetness and bulk to the tomato soup, but I’ve seen similar recipes that use butternut squash as the “filler” ingredient. I think that 4 cups of diced butternut squash would work well here! (However, as a disclaimer – I didn’t test that theory).
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced (approximately 2 cups)
- 4 large carrots, peeled and diced (approximately 4 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil, crushed
- 3 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled Roma tomatoes (do not drain)
- 1 quart chicken stock, either homemade or low-sodium (use vegetable stock for a vegetarian soup)
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- In a Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, stirring, then add the garlic and basil. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After allowing soup to cool for a few minutes, purée in a blender or food processor until smooth (in batches if necessary).
- Slowly stir in the cream over over low heat, until the soup is just heated through. Season with salt and pepper, and serve warm.
Adapted from Serious Eats
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About the Author
Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.